Thursday, October 30, 2008

New friends, New family

Its true, I'm a bit of a loaner. Maybe it comes from a childhood that was less than secure. Maybe it springs from a decade of strictly trad climbing in the sport climbing paradise of Red River Gorge. Or more likely, it comes from having to disown every friend I knew at 19, so that I could stay out of jail, or worse. Probably much worse.

Recently I've forced myself to be more social in situations when I'd normally find my own space. I actually wrote it into my training program. Silly, but it worked. I've gained a number of friends and connections I never would have realized otherwise. Like switching from slab to steep, I'm happy to be versatile enough to feel comfortable at the party, or listening to it from my sleeping bag.

Last weekend I was in New River Gorge for the Deadpoint Magazine launch party. Someone asked me how I got hooked up with the event, and with the crew from the New. I'm not even sure what my answer was... something long and drawn out, fueled by PBR, I'm sure. That question though, has gotten me thinking.

I've only seen these people once or twice a year... and only for three short years. Why does it seem like I've known them forever?

The answer is simple. It's just them.

I have my daughter, and I have my grandparents, and that's all the family I have. But maybe not...

It didn't really occur to me until my lovely friend Lydia pointed out, while gesturing toward super woman Maura Kistler, "...and there's the denmother."

Since day one, everyone of these people has gone out of their way to make me feel at home. Maura and Gene Kistler. Kurt and Elaina Smith. Kenny Parker. Matt and Megan Stark.

I'm indebted to all of you for the hospitality. Thanks for making me feel like family. In turn, I plan on making myself a nuisance. The New might never get old...

Launch Lessons.

If you aren't already familiar (you should be), make a point to visit Deadpoint Magazine Online. I'm betting there's a stack of the print issues already waiting at your gym or local gear store. Pick it up. Don't pay for it. Sneak it out. Oh... wait... you don't have to... its FREE!!! Both online and print. Take it home. Shit, take home 12 and pass them out to your friends, your neighbors, your grandma, and your shrink. Regardless, be sure to peep it online. You'll get videos, extras, and yes... a new song from yours truly. Just check it.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Rocktoberfest and The Heffalump

Lets see... here we are again and I can't even tell you what the date of my last post was... 3 weeks ago? I dunno. Who cares. Since there are 4829473892384 climber blogs out there, I'm sure I'm hardly missed. Fact is, I'd rather read Sonnie Trotter and Joe Kinder's blogs than write my own. Ha.
First off... The Heffalump. Now, when this route used to have an attitude, it was called "Elephant Man", a steep bouldery 13b up the center of the main wall at the extra sharp and angry Darkside wall in Red River Gorge. I tried it 7 times in the spring... but just wasn't ready. Maybe it was mental. On 3rd try this fall... once the temps got back to heading toward crisp... I clipped the chains. I can't say it wasn't a fight, but it sure felt good. It can no longer burden me with its bad attitude, so I've renamed it, in my own thoughts, "The Heffalump".
On to Rocktoberfest. I was slated to emcee this event, which was a long time coming. Last year the RRG hosted the Petzl Roctrip, which was, for all intents and purposes, the first REALLY big event we had pulled off. This event, however, didn't have the benefit of help from the Roctrip. This was all RRGCC. Yes, there were glitches. Yes, it could have been bigger. All in all though, it turned out to be a great event, with some great people. Tommy Caldwell, Daniel Woods, Justen Sjong, Emily Harrington (who knew she was built like that... if you get a chance, watch her walk away, you won't be disappointed!), Micah Dash, Cedar Wright, Whitney Boland, and Sonnie Trotter all came out to teach clinics, socialize, enjoy the party, and crush some of the Red's amazing sandstone. I had a particularly nice conversation with Sonnie about alot of things other than climbing. Its nice to chat with somebody who is just layin in the cut, enjoying what life has given him. Sonnie is for real... an extra psyched, extra nice guy. Check out his blog... its well written and entertaining.

I gotta put that guy in a song for something other than his prowess with the climber ladies... haha!

So whats next? Started work on Paradise Lost, a SWEET 13b arete in Red River at Purgatory. I've been on it 3 times, and I'm falling off the top. We'll see how that goes.

My friend Justin Riddell on Paradise Lost, 13b. Photo by Scott James.